Monday, November 09, 2009

One-Time Whooping Cough Booster Shot Recommended For Adults

(NAPSI)-What starts like a common cold could be a much more serious illness. Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is still a public health concern. In fact, health experts estimate that up to 600,000 whooping cough cases occur each year in adults alone. Many people may not know that a whooping cough booster vaccine can help protect adults from catching the disease and is recommended by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) for adults who have not previously received the booster vaccine.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause a persistent, hacking cough. In some cases, coughing may be severe enough to cause vomiting and even break ribs. The illness may last for up to three months or more and can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization and missed work or school days.

Protection against whooping cough wears off approximately five to 10 years after completion of childhood vaccination, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible to the disease. The whooping cough vaccine, also called "Tdap" vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis), is a one-time booster shot that is recommended for most adolescents and adults if they have not been previously vaccinated. For adults, it is recommended to replace a single dose of Td vaccine (tetanus and diphtheria toxoids) if they received their last dose of Td more than 10 years earlier and they have not previously received Tdap. According to the CDC, only 2.1 percent of adults received a Tdap vaccine between 2005 and 2007.

The AAFP has launched "Vaccination Matters: Help Protect Families from Whooping Cough" as a public health initiative to increase awareness of the importance of whooping cough vaccination. Ted Epperly, M.D., president of the AAFP, advises adults to make sure their shots are up to date.

"Adults may think of whooping cough as a disease of the past, but outbreaks continue to occur across the United States. It is important that adults are vaccinated against whooping cough, not only for their own protection, but because adults and adolescents are often the source of whooping cough infection for infants," said Dr. Epperly.

People with whooping cough may not be aware they have it and can spread it to others, especially small children. Babies who have not received all their shots for whooping cough are especially vulnerable to complications from this disease.

The "Vaccination Matters: Help Protect Families from Whooping Cough" program is made possible through funding and support from GlaxoSmithKline.

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